Eye care IQ: Interview with Dr. Harvey Moscot


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Founded more than 100 years ago by Eastern-European émigré Hyman Moscot, Moscot is both a New York City eye wear institution and a world-renowned brand. Dr. Harvey Moscot, president of Moscot and director of Moscot Eyewear, entered the family business in 1986, representing the fourth generation of Moscot men to takeover the helm — and the refractors (see below). For more information about Moscot’s New York stores and to shop their iconic eye wear collections, visit Moscot.com.

What are the most overlooked areas in eye care?
Preventive, “routine” eye care, not unlike other areas of prophylactic medicine, is entirely overlooked. Unfortunately, most patients only seek eye care when they experience blurry vision, pain or redness. However, many conditions — for example, glaucoma — have no symptoms in the early stages, but early intervention is critical to prevent vision loss. Sadly, we see many patients only after permanent, irreversible and preventable vision loss has occurred. The importance of regular annual eye exams cannot be underestimated!

Who is most susceptible to sun damage?
Patients with fair complexions and light eyes are most susceptible to sun damage as they have fewer protective pigments in the various tissues of the eye. The retina and underlying choroid contain pigment cells and carotenoids that filter ultraviolet light that enters the eyes through the pupils. This includes the external tissues of the eyes as well.

Does geographical location and daily routine play a part?
Absolutely! Individuals that work outdoors, or spend considerable time outside, are at greater risk of UV radiation-related tissue damage. Also, people who live closer to the equator have higher exposure to damaging radiation from the sun.

What do you need to look for in quality, protective sunglasses?
Again, it is critically important that the lenses in your sunglasses are of optical quality with 100% UV protection. Additionally, sunglasses with larger lens areas, those with either side shield protection or styles that conform and “wrap” around the front of one’s face will provide greater protection.

What are some misconceptions people have when choosing eyeglasses?
The greatest misconception is that eyeglasses are solely medical devices to improve vision, when in fact eyeglasses are also a fashion accessory that tell the world a lot about you and your style. Other misconceptions include the idea that "tortoise shell" frames are made from real tortoises, an endangered species. It only refers to the color, thankfully. People also believe that polarization is always part of sunglasses, but it is an  additional technology built into the design of the lens for superior glare protection.

What are some signs that it’s time to have your prescription changed?
Most commonly, blurry vision, eyestrain and headaches. It’s important to note that individuals who work on a computer for more than two hours a day can experience headaches, neck and/or backaches, and burning eyes, all of which may indicate a condition called computer vision syndrome. This condition often necessitates a change in one’s prescription or the need for a specific prescription lens for computer work.

How do you know what types of lenses are best for you?
It’s hard for most people to know what’s best given the sheer number of options available. There are so many new innovations in lens design and technology that the advice of a knowledgeable eye care professional (optometrist or optician) is paramount for choosing the best lens for your particular condition and situation.

What about all those special options for anti-glare, anti-scratch, special coatings, etc.? Are they necessary?
Since many of these “coatings” have been available for some time, they often get a “bad rap.” But the reality is that technology has improved exponentially, and the coatings are so much better now, which greatly benefits the user. Anti-glare not only allows others see your eyes better, but it actually enables the wearer to see [more clearly]. This coating in particular is so advanced nowadays that the better coatings are impervious to fingerprints, water spots and smudging in general. Anti-scratch coating is essential for plastic lenses and often comes with warranties that safeguard the consumer. Again, depending on the usage of the eyeglasses, various coatings are very beneficial.


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What are some tips for keeping eyeglasses clean?
Joy [soap] and water! The Moscot 100-year-old secret formula! Make certain to only dry eyeglasses with a high-quality paper towel that has no wood fibers, such as Bounty. Also, if the lens is dry, use a quality microfiber lens cloth. Daily cleanings are strongly recommended.

Where are some of the strangest or funniest stories that you’ve heard about someone losing their glasses?
Hurricanes come to mind! Or the person who came in our shop once so upset about losing his new sunglasses when in fact he was wearing them on his head!

What are some of your favorite signature celebrity eye wear styles?
The Lemtosh from our Moscot Originals Collection worn by Johnny Depp; The Nebb from our Moscot Originals Collection worn by Paul Rudd; and The Terry from our Moscot Originals Collection worn by Terry Richardson.